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Caitlyn Greffly
Caitlyn Greffly

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Non-Technical Frontend Interview Questions

I don't know about you, but every time I get to the final round of interviews at a company I get pretty nervous. It feels like I could get asked any question under the sun, and how do you prepare for something like that?! I've often compared studying for the final round of interviews to studying for a history test where you don't know the time period or region of the world.

While I tend to focus on worrying about the technical questions, in my experience that only comprises about 30% of the questions (this guesstimated statistic may be in part due to me being relatively early on in my career). As I recently went through a couple of rounds of interviews, I thought I would share some of the non-technical questions I was asked.

Note: I've shared some of the ways I've answered these questions, but they may not be the best possible answers. Just wanted to share what I can!

Product Questions

Tell me about how you view your relationship with the Product Team.

I love this question because I love working with Product. I love discussing the user needs and what the market is looking for. Chances are this question is going to be asked to you by a member of the Product Team, so focus on some of your positive experiences and leave the comments about how they always make you do work you don't want to do for your diary.

Tell me about some of your favorite apps.

This was a question that I found out after the fact is very common. At the time I kind of panicked. What do I tell them - Twitter?? That dumb game I always play? Why can't I remember any of my apps?? The answer I ended up giving was the Clarity money app because I did think it was a pretty cool app, but unfortunately it wasn't one of the apps I used the most. In hindsight, I wish I would have picked an app I was more familiar with so I could have had better answers for the follow-up questions.

What would you change {on the app you just named} to drive user engagement?

Answers to this question could get pretty complex and interesting depending on the app you've selected and your interest/understanding in product decisions. A couple of ideas that would fit many apps would include adding badges, notifications (be prepared for a follow-up question on how often), adding a gamification feature, or giving some sort of positive feedback for each use.

What would you change to improve user experience?

Put some thought in ahead of time to what doesn't seem intuitive or smooth about the functionality of the app. If it's a beautiful app that runs perfectly, you can dissect why it runs so great and how they achieved that.

Agile Questions

Have you worked in an Agile environment? If so, what kind?

If you have worked in one, be prepared to discuss which kind (Scrum, Kanban, etc.) and what that looked like for your team. Did you do full ceremonies (standup, sprint planning, retros, etc.), or was your team leaner on meetings? If you haven't worked in an agile environment, this article goes through the history of Agile and an overview of the various frameworks.

What do you like and dislike about the Agile workflow?

For me, I love the structure of Scrum. I love having a sprint to get my work done and I love the feeling of a fresh start with each new sprint. I like that we aren't stuck to what was originally outlined and there is room to adjust as we need to. It's also fun to ship work every sprint (in theory) and get the rush of endorphins you feel when you see your code in production!

Ideally, how many meetings per week would you like to have?

Tricky question... what if you say none and they have 10? I've given a kind of circular answer to this one in the past. I enjoy meetings because, as a more junior engineer, I feel like I learn a lot from my teammates in meetings. However, if there are too many it becomes hard to focus on my actual work, so I prefer to have my meetings grouped and have longer stretches of heads down time.

Soft Skills Questions

Tell me about a time where you disagreed with a coworker. How did you resolve it?

This is such a classic question, I've probably been asked it in almost every job interview I've ever had, regardless of industry. In a recent interview, I talked about the push and pull between being a perfectionist and just getting something shipped. It's a disagreement I've seen happen often in development, and I know I tend to lean slightly towards getting code out the door. Not that I don't want the code to be awesome, and I definitely don't want to create tech debt, but I don't want to get so in the weeds on a perfect solution that we turn a 5 point ticket into a 21 point ticket. Your answer also might depend on if a product person is asking you or a fellow developer.

Tell me about a miscommunication you've had with a coworker.

I struggled to answer this question because I couldn't (and still can't) think of a great example. Of all of the struggles I've had as a developer, I don't think miscommunication has been a common one. When asked this question, I redirected to a story about disagreeing with a coworker and finding a way to compromise. Maybe you can think of a better answer.

Tell me about a time you didn't get a ticket across the line in time. Why did this happen and how did you deal with it?

I've been asked this question a few times, and honestly, I'd also be interested to hear how an organization deals with developers not getting their tickets across the line (maybe a good follow-up question to ask as the interviewee?). Fortunately, I've only worked on teams where, as long as they know you are putting in the work, there's no shame in a ticket slipping. It's always been more of a personal pride thing for me to push my tickets to prod in time.

What's your learning style?

Great question! I love to be asked this question because it shows that the team has a learning and growth mindset (which I think all dev teams should). Personally, I learn by reading, doing, and then sharing what I've learned with others.

How do you keep up with ever-changing technology?

Twitter? Haha... no but seriously. I have told many folks that Twitter is one way that I keep track of what is going on in the wide world of tech. I follow a lot of folks who create amazing content that I learn from, and whenever I ask for help I'm flooded with amazing resources. I also throw out some of my favorite podcasts (shout out to Ladybug, Front End Happy Hour and Syntax).

Good luck out there on your interviews! Don't forget to ask for more money :)

Top comments (7)

ijdickinson profile image
Ian Dickinson • Edited

Ideally, how many meetings per week would you like to have?

Ugh. When I did interview training (some years ago, now) we were coached to avoid asking candidates hypothetical questions like this. The rationale being that it just becomes a game for the interviewee to guess what would make a good answer for the interviewer, and thus ultimately of little value as a means of fairly and accurately determining whether the candidate is a good fit for the job.

squidbe profile image

My reaction was similar to yours (even the "ugh" 😊). In addition to your point, I'd add that it's a useless question because there are many kinds of meetings with many kinds of people. If anyone thinks about meetings quantitatively instead of qualitatively, they're either fresh out of college (in which case I wouldn't criticize them), or they're focusing on meaningless data, which is a bad sign.

If someone asked me this question in an interview, I'd politely point out that I don't think in terms of number of meetings but rather in terms of outcomes. If the meetings led to useful outcomes for the team/company/customer, then I'd have whatever number led to those useful outcomes. If I were pressed on this (pointless) question, it'd be a clear sign that this company is not a good fit for me. There are so many other, more meaningful questions that could be asked.

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ

Studying for interviews? Who does that?

dmahely profile image
Doaa Mahely

Great post Caitlyn πŸ‘ŒπŸ½ I love the question about your favorite app, I wish I had been asked that in an interview!

thecaitcode profile image
Caitlyn Greffly

Yeah apparently it's fairly common! It is a good question, if you're prepared for it πŸ˜‚

sidneybuckner profile image

So proud of you for posting this! Thank you for the resource and for sharing your experience.